Most people know the classic signs of a heart attack – chest pain or tightness, difficult breathing, soreness in the neck or the jaw. What many may not realize, however, is that there are early warning signs of heart disease that, if heeded in time, could prevent a heart attack from happening in the first place. These signs are listed below.
Erectile dysfunction in men or difficulty with arousal or orgasm in women, can possibly stem from impending heart problems. This is because narrowing or hardening of the arteries, which happens in atherosclerosis, can restrict blood flow to the genital region but it is also a risk factor for heart attacks and other serious consequences.
While most people see snoring as more an annoyance than an actual health problem, it also can be a sign of more serious underlying health concerns. If your breathing is restricted while you sleep – and this is the underlying reason for the snoring – you are at a much greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
If you have problems with gums that are swollen or sore or that bleed easily, this can also be a symptom of cardiac problems. This is because such problems can often be caused by poor circulation in the heart, a sign of impending cardiovascular disease.
If you have noticed swelling in your feet or ankles or alternatively in your hands or fingers, this is likely caused by edema, or water retention in the body. Edema can be an early sign of cardiovascular disease or heart failure.
Arrhythmia refers to an irregular beating of the heart. If you feel like your heart is beating to fast or hard or if it feels like you are skipping beats, this can also be a symptom of cardiac disease and it puts you at a greater risk for heart attacks.
One of the most common symptoms of cardiac disease, a feeling of pain, pressure, heaviness or fullness in the chest can signal the need for a visit to the doctor. However, angina can also present itself with symptoms similar to heartburn or indigestion or discomfort in the neck, jaw, upper back or shoulder area.
Shortness of Breath
Feeling like you can’t quite catch your breath, especially when exercising or when in a stressful situation, is another sign that something could be wrong with the heart. Heart-related breathing problems can also make it harder to breathe when you are lying down or can be worse at night.
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above and also if you have any risk factors for heart disease such as weight problems, a sedentary lifestyle, a family or personal history of heart disease or a diet that includes high amounts of sodium or alcohol, consult with your doctor as soon as possible and request cardiac testing to see if you are in the early stages of cardiovascular disease; early diagnosis is associated with better patient outcomes and quality of life.
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